Welcome to the website of our two research projects, the first fully funded academic studies of amateur theatre in the UK.

Evocative Objects: Guest Speakers

Added on by Helen Nicholson.

We're so pleased to confirm that we'll be joined by some fabulous guest speakers at the Evocative Objects events.  On Tuesday 16th June in London, Robin Simpson from Voluntary Arts will be joining us, along with Ramon Tenoso from Philippine Theatre UK.  On Saturday 27 June in Worcester, Tony Gibbs from the National Operatic and Dramatic Assocation (NODA) will be speaking along with special guests from Worcester-area societies and TOADS Little Theatre from Torquay. 

You can book your free place HERE.  These events are free and open to anyone who participates in the amateur dramatics sector in any way. This is a great chance to contribute in-person to this research. Book early to reserve a space - they're filling up fast! 

Any questions can be directed to E.C.Walcon@exeter.ac.uk. 

Evocative Objects: the Materialities of Amateur Dramatics

Added on by Helen Nicholson.

Post written by: Erin Walcon

We're thrilled to announce that we're hosting two events in June as part of the AHRC Connected Communities Festival.  These events are called:

Evocative Objects: the Materialities of Amateur Dramatics 

Calling all amateur dramatics enthusiasts, historians, box office volunteers, board members, ushers, chorus members and performers! Fancy a chance to meet other amateur society members, to be filmed and interviewed about your society, and to learn more about the first major research project into amateur dramatics in the UK? Join us for a free workshop day on 16th or 27th of June. 

Evocative Objects workshops will be held over two dates in two locations:

  • Tuesday 16 June (11am - 4pm) Questors Theatre, London W5 5BQ. Book your free place HERE
  • Saturday 27 June (11am - 4pm)The Swan Theatre, Worcester WR1 3ED.  Book your free place HERE

The only requirement is that you have to bring an object with you that captures a story (or stories) from your amateur society. This could be:

  • a pair of tweed trousers with the hem let down four times
  • a chipped teacup that has been used in 13 different productions
  • a framed photograph (signed) of the member of the company who ‘made it big’
  • a single torn page from a script highlighted in pink with scribbled notes in the margins
  • a crumpled sheet of red gel
  • a pint glass from the bar
  • a ripped ticket stub from your last show

What will we do? Over a morning workshop and a lunch, we will come together and share our stories and objects.  You will meet other people from other amateur societies and talk about the ways in which you archive and capture your organisation’s history.  Stories will be recorded and written down in small workshop settings, and at the end of the day, the narratives will be compiled into a final album which we’ll share with you and the larger amateur sector.  

 Any questions about the events can be directed to E.C.Walcon@exeter.ac.uk.  

Twitter ID - @amateurdrama

evocative objects flier

Equity & the RSC

Added on by Helen Nicholson.

Post written by: Erin Walcon

The Amateur Dramatics research team has some exciting news to report to you soon! We'll be running a couple of open events in June as a part of the AHRC Connected Communities Festival across the UK - and you can get involved.  More details to come soon, I promise!

In the meantime, however, I was intrigued to read the article about the RSC and Equity reaching a deal about amateur/professional contracts in the Summer 2015 edition of Equity magazine... I'll link to the article when it comes out online too.  

This issues crystalises for me some of the key ethical tensions in the pro/am debate and its a topic worthy of further dialogue.

To quote the article: '[...] the Council wishes to express its disappointment that the RSC sees fit to highlight and encourage the employment of amateurs to portray a so-called love affair between the amateur and professional theatre at a time when many trained professionals are finding reduced opportunities for employment in our subsidised theatres.'  

RSC & Equity article

Many of the companies we've spoken to over the course of this research have greatly enjoyed their involvement in the RSC Open Stages project, and it seems to me that the voice missing from the Equity article is that of the amateur sector. 

Thoughts? Comments?  

100 Word Stories: Acting Out, Birmingham

Added on by Helen Nicholson.

Post written by: Erin Walcon

On the 5th of March, I again had the pleasure of attending an ‘Acting Out’ rehearsal in Birmingham.  This time, the company was holding a writing workshop session, having successfully completed their LGBT History performances last week.  Workshop leaders Chris, Kev and Suzanne led the group through a set of writing exercises in the back room of the Wellington Pub.

I met up with society chair Rachel before the rehearsal for a good chat. Rachel has a BA (hons) in Drama, Theatre and Television studies, she tells me the course had a strong focus on community practice. Her day job is in adult education teaching drama and maths. Cuts in arts funding means that at present her only creative outlet is Acting Out. "It's a place where people can have a sense of belonging," She tells me over Chinese food in Birmingham near New Street Station, "we're close knit, kind of like a big dysfunctional family. There have been a series of Acting Out weddings - gay, straight, lesbian - involving flash mobs, period costume and the celebration of love and commitment. Alex and Kev did a reading at my wedding, Suzanne was a bridesmaid. We can take this piss put of each other mercilessly, but its all in love, there's never any malice. And you know if anything ever happened, if you needed someone, there would always be someone there for you."

We talk about the company's focus on devised and original work - these mediums are rare in the other amateur groups we're looking at, but they are common fare with Acting Out. Maybe this is connected to the fact that Rachel isn't the only member of Acting Out with formal drama training. She met Suzanne when she was a trainee teacher and Suzanne was assigned as Rachel's mentor. Alex and Kevin were course mates whilst training as drama and psychology teachers respectively. They all joined the group over 2-3 years, one drawing another into the fold. 

But later, when I speak with Andrew, who was chairman of the group for 10 years, it becomes clear that the emphasis on devised and original scripts has been there since the group’s inception, back in 2000, when they were still called GAPP Theatre.  Andrew describes several devised shows: Cigarette, which is about a chain-smoking dad with a gay son, and Acceptance, which involved audience interaction and a traverse performance structure.  The group obviously has always done original works – and the ongoing writing workshops testify that they plan to continue that aesthetic.

I ask Andrew about the history of the group.  ‘We used to perform at Birmingham Rep – well, we performed on the stairs,’ Andrew laughs, as we chat in the front room of the Wellington Pub while the writing workshop goes on next door. ‘We did a show called Friends of Dorothy, rehearsed and performed it on the mezzanine level and the stairs of the Rep.  We did quite a variety of performances, many of them inspired by what we saw at the Rep.’ He tells me that the group moved from the Rep to the Wellington Hotel back in 2007. 'We outgrew the Rep and needed a home of our own.’  Andrew is one of the Old Guard – someone who has survived the transition from the group being an all-male gay society, to its current mixed membership.  I ask him about the origins of the group – what caused it to first start up?

‘Oh, there’s something in Birmingham called the Fierce Festival,’ Andrew says, ‘And round about 2000, I think there was some funding to do a one-off scratch production around gay culture. So these brothers, Mark Ball and Steve Ball did a show with 6-8 gay men at the MAC (Midlands Arts Centre) over 2-3 weeks.  It changed their lives. So then Mike Lowe wanted to keep it going, with no money. I joined in the first year, just heard about it through word of mouth.’   

I’m curious about the transition from being all-male to the currently mixed membership.

‘Oh, it was this woman…’ Andrew says, with fond recollection in his eyes, ‘She was called Liz.  She came in to direct, was a bit strict with us.  Got us to actually learn our lines, cracked the whip a bit.  She was brilliant.  She brought other women with her, and about two years after she came, we changed our name to Acting Out.’  He describes how some of the original members ‘fell away’ as the group changed membership and title. 

‘But you’re still here,’ I say.  ‘Yes,’ he smiles, ‘For me it’s important that this is primarily a social group that does theatre, not theatre group that happens to be LGBT. We’ve got a vast age range for a LGBT social group – I’m the oldest and I’m 66, and I think our youngest member is 22.  I think we need to hold onto being a company of friends who do theatre, not trying to be a theatre company, we need a sensible committee for that, which we have.  And I think we need to keep writing our own stuff, need to be a relaxed space.’ He pauses.  ‘And we always have to keep thinking how we will up our game.’

It was a rich and full visit – with many wonderful conversations.  I’ll blog a bit more about the writing workshop and my chats with Alex and Ifor in another post.  

Bicycle Face

Added on by Helen Nicholson.

Post written by: Erin Walcon

Bicycle Face: Acting Out, Birmingham

Two weeks ago, I journeyed up to Birmingham to spend the evening with Acting Out – a LGBT amateur dramatics group which has been in existence since they changed their name from GAPP Theatre (Gay and Performing Proudly) in 2003. The Wellington Hotel (their rehearsal and performance space) was a buzzing hive of activity as the group was preparing for next week’s LGBT History Month celebrations, preparing 4 different sketches for performance.  The entire pub was taken over – from the script-reading happening out in the front by the bar, all the way to the back room, where a tiny stage has clearly played host to a wide variety of Acting Out performances. 

I sat in on the rehearsal of Bicycle Face – a Victorian melodrama involving a lesbian couple named Beatrice and Ethel, two bicycles, a conniving servant named Edgar with around 42 children, a wicked father, and ultimately… a tragic ending involving a barn fire and some rose bushes.  Director Suzie moved back and forth between demonstrating the role of Ethel to a new cast member and giving notes to the company – whilst checking the time of each short scene to see if the piece would be under the 10 minute requirements.  The piece was partly-devised, partly-scripted, and the company improvised around the script under Suzie’s encouragement, amping up the farcical melodrama and searching for new innuendos that hadn’t been used already.

As soon as the Bicycle Face group had finished their run-through, another sketch moved into the theatre space, and we shifted back out into the front pub area for a chat and some directorial notes.  It’s here where I really got a chance to chat with Alex, who is the society secretary and former social organiser.  Alex told me, ‘We usually do about 3 productions a year, but then stuff like this comes up, and we do that too.’  I sat with the Bicycle Face group, listening to them chat about their Saturday rehearsal at the LGBT community centre, and trying to find another evening where the group could rehearse this week. All members of the group work full-time, and the company is clearly used to working around these constraints. 

Amidst orders from the bar, and a few rounds on the gaming machine, the company looked through several bags of costumes, jewelry and props that member Noisy had brought in for tonight’s session.  Victorian garb was pulled out for the Bicycle Face scene – Alex ended up with a top hat – and Beatrice’s bonnet was passed round and worn by several members of the group for the rest of the evening.  ‘Noisy?’ I asked Alex.  ‘Oh, his real name is Richard, but there are several people called Richard, and he’s loud, so we just call him Noisy.  It just stuck.’  Nicknames are clearly a common occurrence with the Acting Out crew, as another Richard, the technician, who is regularly referred to as ‘Sat Nav’ went round and checked off everyone’s lighting cue requirements for the show.  I was told that Sat Nav earned his name by through his skill as a human Sat Nav on various group outings.  He is also regularly involved in organising walks for the LGBT group Rainbow Rambles.

Later, I watched as company chairwoman Rachel led an efficient meeting which brought all the groups together in the back room space, asking who could make the 6:30 PM call-time on Tuesday.  Adjustments were made for those who had to come straight from work – Suzie explained she was going to be picked up from work at 6:30 PM, and would bring the props with her.  ‘That’s all right,’ Rachel said, crossing it off her list, ‘Your bit isn’t until the end anyway.’  A group of 29 people (plus me) had gathered together for this final meeting, largely emptying the front of the pub, and despite the half-full pints and hard work of the last 2 hours, it was a focused and professional atmosphere as the group worked through the details for next week’s festivities. 

The ending time of 9 PM came and went, as Alex asked how many members wanted to go and see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, and checked off 16 names from his list. Several other members mentioned shows that were upcoming – both amateur and professional – and it’s clear that the group is used to going to the theatre regularly to see work of both sorts.  Rachel adjourned the session, but many stayed to chat – or to move along to another pub down the road for a more social session. Rachel stopped one group member to discuss the delayed plans for Romeo and Juliet – their show intended to start rehearsals in March for a July performance.  Ed, the previous chair of Acting Out, is directing the show. Finding a Romeo is becoming an issue, and they discussed the options… ‘I’ll just send an email out, begging, pleading and bullying to see if we can find someone.’   Alex told me with a grin that he’s been cast to play the Nurse.

As everyone filtered off into the evening, some headed home, some to the pub, I said goodbye to Alex and Rachel.  ‘Come back up and see the new writing group,’ Alex encouraged me.  ‘They’ve just started. Some of our more experienced writers are teaching the rest of us who haven’t written before.’ 

I'm headed up today to see this writing session - absolutely can't wait.  

My Story: Kim Parmée of Woodchurch Players

Added on by Helen Nicholson.

Post updated by: Erin Walcon

Kim Parmée has sent us her experience with Woodchurch Players in Kent.  Kim's story echoes many others we've heard - with inter-generational family participation, and a sense that being involved in amateur dramatics can help to get you through the tough times.  Her story is below. 


Kim: 'I joined Woodchurch Players in the summer of 2013 when I went to audition for the Jan 2014 Pantomime ‘Sleeping Beauty’.

My life at that time wasn’t at its best, we had sold our house and moved into Woodchurch village into my in-laws, whilst renovating our new house also in the village, I had to give up my home based job, so lack of money too, my nan passed away in October and a friend in November. Giving such commitment to months of rehearsals, I wasn’t sure I was ready. No experience and very nervous!

Everyone was welcoming and really nice at the auditions, I got a part in the chorus, as did my daughter (8 years old). Rehearsals were such good fun. Already I felt part of the group, my daughter and I practiced the dance moves together at home and sung the songs in the car. Doing this together, sharing the same experiences is something special.

Putting on performances was a great buzz. I loved every minute of it. You get a sad feeling on the last one, knowing you wouldn’t be seeing these people – cast, backstage, everyone involved. I can honestly say, joining the amateur dramatic group has been one of the best things I have done and has pulled me through a not so good time.

I have met and got to know a lot of people, all different ages, who I can now call my friends. My daughter gained a friend who also lives in the village, being new to the area this was a bonus.

We had all met up during the year to watch our wonderful acting on dvd! The group held a summer fair on the village green for members and the community. There was a spring play ‘She Stoops to Conquer’, I had a few lines (scary!), but with the wonderful support and patience from the cast and director I got through it!, We have just finished the 2015 Pantomime ‘Treasure Island’ again my daughter now 9 years old was in both the spring play and the pantomime. Our confidence has really grown over the last year and a half and feel really lucky to be part of the Woodchurch Player’s family.'


 Thank you to Kim for sending us her story, and please do consider sending in your own!  All contributions are very welcome - you can email them to amdramaresearch@gmail.com.  

Video Postcard: Ramon Tenoso and Maurice Newbury of PTUK

Added on by Helen Nicholson.

Post written by: Erin Walcon

I always look forward to visiting PTUK (Philippine Theatre UK) to watch rehearsals; the group is such a vibrant and welcoming one.  This last Saturday, I made the trip to London to sit it on their management meeting and to celebrate Artistic Director Ramon's birthday.  'Direk', as he's known to the group, was kind enough to sit down for a brief video interview with Managing Director Maurice (known to the group as 'MD') before all the festivities and meetings kicked off.  

Our interview covered quite a lot of ground, and I just wanted to share a short excerpt from it here. One of the key identifying factors about PTUK's work is that they are regular and ardent supporters of charity causes.  At the moment, they are fundraising to raise support to help rebuilding efforts following on from Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines in November 2013.  We chatted about these fundraising efforts, and Ramon reflected upon PTUK's 12-year history and the ways in which charity support has been key throughout.  

Here are Ramon and Maurice in their own words:

The interview was followed by a management meeting, a short read-through from Ramon's new play, some games & discussion, and good food. A very happy birthday to Ramon, and many thanks to the PTUK family for allowing me to come along to so many of their sessions.  

birthday feast
discussing the value of creativity
read through
PTUK


Video Postcard: Brian Palmer Panther and 70 years in Amateur Dramatics

Added on by Helen Nicholson.

Post written by: Erin Walcon

Last year, I had the privilege of meeting Brian Palmer Panther at the NODA NE conference in Bridlington. Brian's career in amateur dramatics spans 70+ years and he has served as chairman and president of South Yorkshire Musical Comedy Society for over 20 years. Speaking with Brian has been one of the highlights of this project for me so far, and I wanted to share just a couple of his thoughts about his first moments in amateur dramatics. 

Brian's story captures what many others have been telling us too - that people often begin their involvement in amateur dramatics through their family... and continue it with their own children later in life.  

Transcript:

Erin: Can I begin by asking you how long you’ve been involved in amateur dramatics and the reasons you came to be involved in the first place?

Brian: 70 years. 4th of March. 

Erin: you remember the exact day?

Brian: Well, I was 14 years of age. I’d left school – I was working in an office. It’s a very big mining area where I live, South Yorkshire.  My mother was in the chorus, my father was backstage helping; he didn’t want to be on stage at all.  And my sister, she was a lovely soprano singer –she was two years younger than I was, so at that stage she wasn’t involved. I used to go along to rehearsals and then they said ‘Right we need a callboy’.  So my first job was call boy.  ‘Right, 2 minutes on the stage!’ And then I progressed from that to being a spot-light boy, that was the spotlight on the side of the stage, following the artists and what have you. And then just after my 16th birthday, I did my first show.  I was allowed to be in the chorus then, and one of my main jobs, when I wasn’t on the stage, was, back of the theatre, there was a door there, and across the road was a public house.  And my job was to fetch big jugs of beer for the men to drink when they were offstage. 

Erin: Really?

Brian: Yeah.  Like I say, my mother was in it. So I just went on and carried on.


Contribute your own: Please do send us a clip of someone from your society telling us about their first moments stepping on stage... it can be a short clip (under 2 minutes) and we'll gladly share it on the website!

Escape & Highlight: Elizabeth Fenton on why she gets involved

Added on by Helen Nicholson.

Post updated by: Erin Walcon

As one of the contributors to our research, Elizabeth Fenton, of the Woodchurch Players, Kent, has explored her own 30 year journey with amateur dramatics. Below are some of her fascinating thoughts about the rewards and challenges of involvement:

'I am a full time teacher of English, married with two sons. "How on earth do you have time to do that?" some cry at me - still. It is tricky to respond without sounding too earnest or even arrogant -

"It is what I do and makes me who I am." I began at the age of 15 in order to be part of something, to belong and be accepted; to make friends! This is still true today:  I love working with dear friends whom I love, but it is always great to meet new people and create new relationships, as well as new theatrical opportunities. Below are the issues that are relevant to my experience over the past 30 years.

Point one: Personal Opportunities

I have been very fortunate to have played some brilliant roles - Mrs DeWinter, May in 'The Accrington Pals', Shelby in 'Steel Magnolias', Helga in 'Allo Allo', Kate in 'She Stoops to Conquer'. Would I have had those opportunities if I had tried the professional route? Doubt it.

Point two: Those that do...

I am now directing and am enjoying it very much. Productions have been very successful and I shall continue to balance it with my acting. But here comes the rub and it is a familiar story. Although I had been thinking about directing for some years, I finally started because of staffing problems shall we say. It gave me the push I needed to get started but at the same time, if I hadn't, there would not have been a production. Since then, I have directed two productions, but would not fill in the gap for October 2014. I had to have a break. I am directing again October 2015. That is fair enough is it not?

Our chairman and treasurer are very forward looking and imaginative and to ensure we did have something for our audiences this autumn, we had a visiting am dram group give a one off performance of their musical they did earlier in the year. It was tremendous and we want to do something similar again, but thank God the logistics worked out! We have a director for Spring 2015, but he has made it clear he will not be a regular director from now on. Why is it so difficult to get the people to do things? We know why (time and responsibility - when you have a job and a family it is very difficult) but it never gets easier and we are always under pressure to keep the productions going.

Point Three: What to do about it.

1.The Green Room: this a small group of reps from local am dram groups who meet to discuss, support and trouble shoot for each other, as we all have to deal with the same problems. This has smoothed the communication between groups and help has been offered and gratefully received between us, ranging from costume requests to marketing strategies to digital social networking. The group is dormant at the moment as the structure is now in place and we share publicity and notices through members' emails and newsletters etc regularly now. If a group needs a meeting, then we see who can attend. If nothing else, it has established vital moral support between companies and greater awareness of each others' work , which in turn has led to better ticket sales!

2. Collaboration with other groups - as above when another group visited us. It helped us out of what would have been a very embarrassing situation and gave them a boost as they are a young group (4 years old) with a young demographic. Now we can see ways in which we could collaborate on productions in the future, which is an exciting prospect.

3. My husband and I are on the committee (he is chair!) and we are very lucky to have new officers who are also new to the society. This has helped push the society forward and be more dynamic in following through new ideas, especially in relation to digital technology and marketing. We are now on Facebook, Twitter as well as a website which is linked to Ticketsource. I have clarified our NODA membership and we now have the active support of the regional rep which in turn will raise our profile and publicity. The committee as a whole is braver in its approach as the newer members show the loyal, hard working long term members how to see things differently sometimes.

3. I have been a campaigner for years for Woodchurch to participate in the KDA Full Length Play Festival and this year we will be a part of it! This now puts up alongside our fellow groups in the county and I am proud that we now have the chance to show what we can do so well to a wider arena.

Point Four: Recruitment and Recognition

All of the above are about fresh ways to attract new members and for praise to be given to those who put the effort in. I have never been in a production that has been demoralising, bitchy or agonisingly technical, though I know those who have, unfortunately. This year a dear friend of mine had decided to be with us again because she had such a lot of FUN with us. That is what is it all about, but it is coupled with the determination to do it properly and the best we can. I belong to two very strong, talented groups who rival some who do get paid to do this for a living! I may sound arrogant now, but I don't mean to be - just like when you go to a restaurant and you think you could have cooked it better yourself, the same can apply to am drams. Not all professional individuals or productions are better than amateurs! It is the best thing when our group receives feedback from audiences who are impressed by our achievement, as well as having had a really good time. They pay for their ticket and if we achieve in making them say "WOW" then that is only what our audiences deserve for supporting us and making the effort to attend in the first place.

We can escape from, or highlight, our own lives by our participation, but it is that dynamic between audience and us that seals it.'

Thank you to Elizabeth for sending in her experience and thoughts!  If you'd like to contribute to the research, you can download the Research Toolkit here, or email us at amdramaresearch@gmail.com.  

A Day in the Life by John Emms

Added on by Helen Nicholson.

Post updated by: Erin Walcon

We've been overwhelmed and pleased with the responses from our PDF research toolkit - so many of you are sending us contributions which begin to tell the story of your amateur companies - through written documents, video interviews, drawings, photographs, and even some audio recordings.  We'll begin featuring these contributions over the next few weeks - we began with Kelly's history of Sunderland Society, and this week we're featuring John Emm's postcard describing a 'Day in the Life' of Emley Drama group.  Keep sending them in, it's so fantastic to hear from you.  Here are John's words: 

'So...what are we doing today? Well, basically, faffing about trying to make arrangements to get together in the local pub again to decide what we're going to do next.

You see we did a play in October and we've got the usual run of murder mysteries, (either free for charities or cheap for community organisations anywhere up to 20 miles away or very reasonable for commercial organisations) in the run-up to Christmas. But we still have to find out who's available for May half-term (we're stuck with half-terms, because a playschool use the church hall now, as well as us) and decide what we might fancy putting on.

Point is, there's only about a dozen of us, on-stage, back-stage etc., so naturally we don't bother with auditions or any of that nonsense. And we don't have committees or chairpeople or secretaries, treasurers, play-readers and heaven knows what. No-one actually has an official role, at all, so how anything gets done we've never managed to work out. Though most people turn their hands to most things, when required. So the director might have a role, and design the set and help build it and provide some props and furniture. And a couple of actors might have to run the sound and lighting while they're not onstage, if it's  largish cast and we don't have anyone spare. And another actor does the tickets and money, and a couple of them do the publicity and....

But we do two plays a year and they're always well received, despite the fact that there's rarely the whole cast available for any of the rehearsals. And, it seems, for amateurs, we're pretty good. So people from the bigger, posher drama groups (who some of our people are with too) are always happy to take a part if we're short. Not least because they claim to like the relaxed atmosphere, the fact that there are no prima donnas, no bitching, no-one who thinks they're in charge. Though occasionally it might be a good idea to have someone in charge.

Speaking of which, it occurred to me the other day that we needed to get together, so I started emailing around. And the problem now is that one person from Huddersfield Thespians who was in the last play said she might like to be in the next one, but no-one seems to know how to get in touch with her. and another lass who had been supposed to be doing that part but had had to pull out - well, her email is bouncing back and she isn't responding to texts.

And half the people I emailed haven't replied, and of the ones who have, everyone can make the 8th December except one, so that's when we'll meet. In the White Horse, naturally.

Unusually, someone's already suggested a play, but it has big parts for him and me and I'm not sure I've got time to take on a big part, so we'll probably have to think of another, somehow. Garry often seems to take that on. So perhaps he'll do it again. But if he doesn't I'm sure someone will.

Oh, and I did sort of put together a financial account for the last play. It didn't balance, but it wasn't far off, but no-one's bothered about that - more interested in knowing how much is in the bank. Which is always enough, because we always make a surplus.

Which reminds me, we need to think of some local organisations to give grants to, as we might as well, since we've got enough money, and we can regard it as publicity money (which, of course, it is), so looks good in the accounts. Or would do if anyone ever produced any. 

Oh and since the couple who do front of house and refreshments have moved out of the village we actually put a plea in the village mag (organisation, eh!) and someone's answered, so she needs to be told the date of the meeting. In the pub.

Oh and there's these folk doing this survey about amdram, so someone needs to respond to them, so they can see there's another way to do it from the more traditional, er, organised arrangements....'

John Emms, Emley Drama Group